A dick move may make you a temporary asshole, but a pattern of bad behavior can land you with the unfortunate label of douchebag. Where the asshole veers towards self-involvement, the douchebag is actively and intentionally abrasive. He probably takes pride in it. He is smarmy, openly derisive, and often burdened with a gargantuan sense of entitlement. Assholes can skate by on charisma, but douchebags rely on belligerence, bullying, and sheer volume to get their way.
The variation “douche” and its adjective form, “douchey,” have evolved to describe a particularly odious individual, one whose perception of self is so at odds with reality to be damn near delusional. He thinks he’s a hip chick magnet, but likely lives in his parents’ garage and wears a lot of Ed Hardy. His self-worth is tied up in material signifiers that nobody else finds very significant. Douchy dudes are particularly frustrating because no level of insult or call-out can dissuade them from their own awesome opinion of themselves.
Etymology & History: Although few users of the “douchebag” epithet think “feminine hygiene” when they sling it around, the word first showed up on paper in a 1908 medical textbook. It made its dictionarial debut in 1963, but was too base for TV until the 2000s, when South Park, Family Guy, and The Daily Show made it the go-to insult for urban elites.
Douchebags in the News: Ben Roethlisberger, Chris Brown, Glenn Beck, Jon Gosselin, Mel Gibson
Douchebags on Screen: Bill Lumbergh (Office Space), Glenn Guglia (The Wedding Singer), Sack Lodge (Wedding Crashers), the cast of Tool Academy
Famous Douchebag Quotes:
“My two biggest hits are ‘Your Body Is a Wonderland’ and ‘Daughters.’ If you think those songs are pandering, then you’ll think I’m a douchebag. It’s like I come on very strong. I am a very … I’m just very. V-E-R-Y. And if you can’t handle very, then I’m a douchebag. But I think the world needs a little very. That’s why black people love me.” (John Mayer)
Synonyms: Tool, Asshat